Monday, April 2, 2018

March Newsletter

Beware the "expert."

The expansion of the Internet has given rise to a multitude of people who present themselves as experts. Many aren’t, and doing business with them can be very costly.

No matter how slick their marketing or how cool their website is, I strongly suggest that you request a half-dozen referrals. Take the time to contact these referrals and ask questions about their experience with the company. Ask questions about price, delivery, and the quality of the work performed.

I once made the mistake of not doing my homework on a company offering expert website development. We discussed all the elements and functionality required for the website. I was assured that it was a "piece of cake" to get me everything I needed. I was told the job would take about three weeks.

After many phone calls and meetings which seemed pointless, it slowly dawned on me that I was not dealing with experts, but rather a company that held itself out as expert.

After eight weeks, I called the CEO and held his feet to the fire. He promised to complete the site within 10 days. It was completed; however, it took an additional three weeks, and the site never did function correctly. I had to spend more money troubleshooting and correcting the problems.

The company’s initial low price was not a bargain, considering the lost time and what I had to do to get the site up and running.

I later learned that the delays were caused because the company was sending the work offshore, and it was having difficulty managing the relationship with the foreign company.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

February Newsletter

Learn to read people.

Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80 percent of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words. - Deborah Bull, English entertainer

Police detectives, professional poker players, and successful deal makers have one thing in common: they all know how to read people.

At least 80 percent of human communication is nonverbal. Eye movement, posture, arm positioning, hand gestures, facial expressions, voice inflection, and other subtle and unintentionally sent messages can be read and interpreted. Plenty of learning resources on this subject exist. Take advantage of them. Your ability to read people pays big dividends in your professional and personal life.

Beyond business, there are dozens of life situations in which knowledge of body language pays off. Whether you’re making a major purchase, interviewing, dealing with coworkers or even with those at the dinner table, it is a very useful skill.

Are you being lied to?

I’m certainly not an expert on reading body language, but I have made it a point to learn the basic signs that tell me I am being lied to. Here are a few things I look for:

If a person doesn’t use contractions in his or her speech, it’s an indication of lying. When you hear, "I did not do it;" instead of, "I didn’t do it," chances are that person is fibbing.

Also people offering a theory that removes them from suspicion such as, "I would not take the chocolates. I do not even like chocolate," and then offers an alternative theory, such as, "Maybe the cleaning crew took them," is probably lying.

A change in the tone of voice often also indicates deception. Tugging at one’s collar and crossing one’s arms are other indicators.

None of these behaviors viewed separately means much, but, you can rest assured that, if three or more are displayed, it’s a pretty safe bet that you are being lied to.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

January Newsletter

If you keep telling the same sad small story, you will keep living the same sad small life. - Jean Houston, American author

You are who you think you are.

I once had a poor self-image. I didn’t have a college education. I didn’t have money or prospects. Back then, the concept of a self-image wasn’t even familiar to me. It wasn’t how people thought.

As luck would have it, I landed a job on a small ranch owned by a very wealthy man. He took a liking to me. Over the next year he showed me a different world. He and his wife sometimes invited me to their home for dinner.

He lent me books that we would later discuss.

Sometimes he would take me for a flight in his small private airplane.

Most important, he treated me with respect. My view of myself began to slowly change.

One day he asked me what my life plans were. I told him that I really didn’t know. I explained that not having a college degree would limit my options. He looked at me as if I were crazy and said, "You are far more capable than 95 percent of people with degrees."

My self-image went up a notch again that day. I soon enrolled in night school, and my belief in myself continued to grow as I saw new possibilities for my life.

It wasn’t until I was looking back, many years later, that I fully understood the profound influence his friendship and kindness had on my destiny. I realized what a powerful force self-image is and what an important role it plays in defining our lives.

Start looking at your potential. Redefine yourself, and you will change. You will start to see your true capabilities, and that knowledge will lead to a new you.

I’m sure my boss knew exactly what he was doing to help me. I have tried to pass his gift to me along to others.

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